Flying High with Open Innovation and the Future of Hand Luggage

Published Apr-29-13

An open innovation contest sought visionary ideas to make the experience of taking hand luggage onto a plane more efficient and enjoyable.

Lufthansa, Germany

The Story:

Flying High with Open Innovation and the Future of Hand Luggage German airline company Lufthansa frequently reaches out to the crowd for innovative ideas to enhance its passenger and freight services. It has long valued co-creation with consumers as a way to develop new products and services and to stimulate its own thinking.

The company understands that in a marketplace with so much standardization it needs to look for ways to differentiate itself from competitors. Tapping into the unprecedented knowledge and experience that consumers possess is one way that can help it to enhance its offerings and steal a march on the competition.

Co-creation with consumers is a mutual relationship that benefits both parties and changes the way that companies think, act, and innovate. Many open innovation thought leaders believe that to be successful today, organisations cannot afford to ignore the potential of co-creation.

Luggage Innovations Wanted

In 2012, Lufthansa focused some attention on simplifying the hand luggage process to make flying a more enjoyable experience.

Travelling with hand luggage has its difficulties and inconveniences for passengers. For example, unpacking and repacking a suitcase’s contents at the security desk, and the time it takes for everyone on board to find a place to stow away their bags.

Space on a plane is limited yet passengers would like more room for their belongings, particularly on long haul international flights.

The Future of Hand Luggage Open Innovation Contest sought creative ideas to simplify luggage handling processes and to improve the look and function of hand luggage.

Food for Thought

To help participants conceive the most effective ideas the airline drew up a list of questions to help guide their thinking. These included: “Could checking in luggage be done faster and more efficiently? Is it right to try to convince aircraft passengers more strictly to follow the rules of procedure during flights? What would an optimized piece of luggage look like? Would the materials used to make hand luggage be different from what is usually used today?”

Contestants had to specify the part of the travel chain their idea was most suitable for, such as travel preparations, check-in, boarding, security, and accessibility of luggage during the flight.

The submission period was three months and ideas were evaluated by a jury that consisted of senior Lufthansa personnel. and they awarded four prizes for the best ideas:

Winners Reach for the Sky

The first place winner was an idea called ‘Red Tag Movement’, a system of simple tags to encourage passengers to place their hand luggage in predefined areas.

Second place went to an idea called ‘Little Assistance’, a multi-functional carry-on bag that consists of two compartments. They can be used separately or together to form a backpack.

‘How to Fly’ was awarded third place. It’s a user guide for passengers consisting of a number of useful infographics. These include such topics as ‘Objects that shouldn't be in your luggage’ and tips on how to pack your luggage with saving space.

Forth place went to 'solace', a design for lightweight, stackable, and stylish suitcases. Solace is so shaped that it can also provide a comfortable seat for passengers to sit wherever they want.

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